It’s a little embarrassing and quite frustrating to realize my struggles have been the same for so long. It feels exhaustingly neurotic: I chide myself for not being able to stick to any sort of writing routine or discipline. Then I step back and have some compassion for myself because I know, at least practically, that chiding won’t work. And yet compassion is sometimes a cover for laziness. And yet I try not to use the word “lazy” because it’s not compassionate. There you go. But it’s worth noting how happy I am once I’m inside the process. Once I’ve walked into the room, sat down at the desk, started something. I need to make peace with the neurotic thoughts that are such an engrained part of the process, I start to think of them as those annoying people at synagogue that you kind of just accept and eventually develop a warm kind of love for their awkward quirks. I’m thinking of specific people. The ones you really want to stop talking, especially when we’ve been invited to have a discussion, but more so when we haven’t. What possessed you to come here? you want to shout sometimes. But over time they become like family. It would be weird if they didn’t show up (yet so relaxing, too!). Maybe I can treat my neurotic thoughts that way from now on. Picture the one guy in particular, who is such a pain but who I love like a dorky uncle. The guy who can’t help but sing and clap his hands in that idiosyncratic way that grates my bones, but makes me smirk. Oh, you. You silly, sweet guy. I’m going to smile, magnanimous as a Buddha, from across the room, then close my eyes and pray. You can be there, clapping in the background, doing your thing. I’ll be here doing my thing. And there is a joy in my own singing. There is a joy in sitting at this desk, in stringing out the words. A joy in the sleuthing for solutions, in the picking and choosing, in the redoing it. To have compassion for myself equally in the joy and the difficulty. Dude, I can’t even hear you anymore, you have hummed yourself into silence. Amen, amen. I’ll see you next week.
New workshop offering! From Narrow Place to Freedom: A Passover Workshop on Writer’s Block, March 29th
From Narrow Place to Freedom: A Passover Workshop on Writer’s Block
Renew your writing practice during this season of rebirth
At one time or another, all writers experience dry spells, lack of inspiration, or a feeling of being stuck in their writing. Instead of pushing away so-called writer’s block, there are techniques that encourage us to embrace and use our blocks as part of the creative process. The classic story of Passover is a journey from oppression to liberation. It is often interpreted as a moment in the cycle of the year where we can examine and find freedom from our personal Mizrayim, “narrow place.” This workshop will use Jewish mystical teachings on Passover, meditative techniques, and guided writing exercises to invite us to accept that which constrains us and write through our blocks toward a place of freedom. You will leave with fresh drafts and a sense of renewal and recommitment to your writing goals. This workshop is open to writers of all levels of experience, genres, and backgrounds. Light snacks will be served. Workshop is limited to 12 writers, and the exact address will be given to attendees.